ENGLAND play USA in the World Cup tomorrow.
But there’s another world cup rumbling away in the car world, the World Car Of The Year awards.
I’m on the judging panel and funnily enough the test drives have just taken place in America.
With everything going on tomorrow, I couldn’t resist calling at LA’s Rose Bowl stadium to remind the Yanks what football really is. It’s not 46-a-side.
The ball is round, not egg-shaped. And you kick it. That’s why it is called football. It also occurred to me that as well as giving America the beautiful game, we also give them beautiful cars — and we don’t get much in return.
But what have they ever sent our way? Apart from recent years with Tesla and the odd right-hand drive Mustang, all they have given us is rubbish like the PT Cruiser.
They’re lapping up our cars and trying to play our game — even though they call it “soccer” — and they keep their own “world series” sports for themselves.
Harry Kane will show them who is boss tomorrow. Right, let’s talk cars. Range Rover Sport is in the running for Best Luxury Car alongside the big-daddy Range Rover, Mercedes EQS, BMW 7 Series, Lucid Air, Lexus RX, Genesis G90 and, er, Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe.
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Tough group. But I reckon one of our 2 Lions will prevail. Simply because they set the standard for do-it-all 4x4s. Land Rover’s Solihull factory is running at full tilt to keep up with orders.
The Range Rover Sport you see here is the top-spec version with the BMW-sourced 530hp 4.4-litre V8.
Combine that with air suspension, rear-wheel steering, 48-volt roll control system and electronic active differential, all wrapped in a stiffer body, and you’ve got serious sports car performance, just sat a bit higher.
KEY FACTS: RANGE ROVER SPORT
- Price: £116,190
- Engine: 4.4-litre petrol V8
- Power: 530hp
- 0-62mph: 4.5 secs
- Top speed: 155mph
- Economy: 24mpg
- CO2: 261g/km
- Out: Now
There’s no need to waste your time talking about its off-road capabilities because it’s a Land Rover. It’s truly exceptional.
It’ll glide over anything and everything — including an American football as it turns out. I thought it’d be funny to burst one under a front wheel but the suspension soaked it up like it was a pebble.
The cabin is lush, tech-rich and as comfy as an armchair. It’s a lovely way to travel. The base car is a 300hp six-cylinder turbo diesel costing £80k. That’s all you need. Vinnie Jones once told me the Range Rover Sport is his car “for all occasions”.
He said: “What can I go to a premiere in? What can I go to dinner in? What can I go to a funeral in? What can I go shooting in? It ticks every box. It’s class. It’s a statement vehicle without sticking it up your nose.”
I totally agree. Nothing can match it for comfort and capability. Come on, England.
- The World Car of the Year winners will be announced in April.